It’s Just A Little Crush by Caroline Fardig
Office politics can be tricky to navigate on a good day, but when your new (and super attractive) co-worker just so happens to take an interest in you at the same time women around town mysteriously begin to drop dead…now that’s a whole new level of complicated! In It’s Just a Little Crush by Caroline Fardig, copy editor Lizzie Hart finds herself in exactly this position. Not only that, when the police in her small town of Liberty refuse to believe that a friend and fellow reporter’s death is anything other than an accident, it’s up to Lizzie and star investigative reporter-slash-town hunk Blake Morgan to crack the case. But will sticking their noses where they don’t belong land Lizzie in the sights of the killer? Or will cozying up to her “tiny” office crush prove to be more than a little deadly?
The book which I would classify as a “chick-lit mystery” is a fun and easy read, with just the right amount of red-herrings thrown in to keep you on your toes all the way through. It should also be extremely relateable for any of you out there, who like myself and Lizzie, have (at some point in your life) had the misfortune of crushing way too hard on someone who’s determined to keep your relationship in limbo. One of my favorite lines takes place during a moment of utter confusion for Lizzie – on top of being the only one who is seriously looking for the deranged killer who’s on the loose, she’s also confronted with a million and one questions that her head and her heart just can’t reconcile; she goes on to ask herself,
“So, I guess the million dollar question is: Am I willing to be with Blake, but only as a friend? Can I handle standing by, watching him go through woman after woman, knowing that he has feelings for me and I for him? I don’t really think it’s fair to ask me to do that, but then again, should I take whatever piece of Blake I can get? I need to do a lot of thinking about that.”
Oof – who hasn’t been there before??
I definitely found myself feeling Lizzie’s pain more than once throughout the course of the novel. However, there were still a few things that kept me from becoming totally engrossed in the story. The biggest factor that held my suspension of disbelief at bay, is that despite fact that Fardig is a decent writer, the narration is not only from the first person perspective – but it also takes place in the present tense. This can take some of the drama and excitement out of certain moments for me, since it can come across as overly-factual; or as one reader describes it, “like a transcript of a person dictating all actions into a tape recorder”, (and I would have to agree). Most people aren’t likely to give first-hand, present-tense accounts of what they’re looking at at all times, for example, which leaves out a lot of the description we as readers come to rely on in order for our imaginations to “fill in the blanks”. People are likely, however, to get distracted, go on tangents, and act irrationally from time to time – so you’ll definitely find some of that in the mix, which makes it a bit hard to get into until you get used to the writing style; at which point the story starts to flow a bit better.
That being said, I would say a little uncertainty at the start is typical of a debut novel when new characters and plot lines are being introduced, and I have felt similarly upon first picking up series’ that have later become some of my favorites. All in all, I would definitely still recommend It’s Just a Little Crush to those of you out there who are looking for a fun, light, and fast-paced read that will keep you guessing until the end! I, myself, will certainly be interested to see what kind of hi-jinks Lizzie finds herself in next time.
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